Leading head 'kissed pupil on last day' at former college

John Tomsett's lawyer says his relationship with former pupil was not a case of professional misconduct

John Tomsett, head of Huntington School, York

A leading headteacher has been accused of kissing a pupil on his last day while working as a teacher at a sixth-form college in the early 1990s.

John Tomsett admitted to having a sexual relationship with his former pupil in the summer after her A levels, but his barrister said it was not a case of professional misconduct, nor did it bring the teaching profession into disrepute.

Details of the relationship between the A-level pupil and Tomsett were contained in a letter which she wrote to herself in 1995 with a view to not opening it until her 40th birthday, a teacher conduct panel has heard.

Mr Tomsett, who has taken leave from his post as headteacher of Huntington School, near York, is appearing before a panel of the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) in Coventry today.

The hearing relates to a relationship with "Pupil A" in the early 1990s when he was an English teacher at Eastbourne Sixth Form College.

'Wonderfully erotic'

The panel heard that Mr Tomsett admitted to having a sexual relationship with Pupil A “during the summer in which she received her A-level results”, although he had left his job at the college at the May half-term.

His barrister, Andrew Faux, said: “The reason why we are here is that from the outset the TRA chose to assert that the behaviour of a teacher in 1990-92 ought to be judged by today’s standards.”

He added: “It is not for him to show what the standards at the time were – that is for the TRA but they have chosen not to do it.”

Presenting the case for the TRA, barrister Ben Bentley alleged that on the day Mr Tomsett left his job, he and Pupil A kissed in "studio 3" of the sixth-form college, and that the pupil wrote about it in her diary. saying it “made me feel special,” yet “I was scared of people finding out – my friends, parents, teacher – and it was another secret to keep”.

Mr Tomsett also made a sexual innuendo on one occasion after Pupil A had to lie down for most of the lesson due to having broken her back, said Mr Bentley.

In a sixth-form leavers’ book, Mr Tomsett wrote a message describing a psychological questionnaire about sex and relationships, which Pupil A asked him to take part in, as “wonderfully erotic”.

In August 1991, Pupil A said he had got “very intense” and told her to listen to The Jam song Ghosts in which the lyrics are “you keep it hidden…you are scared to show you care”.

The hearing continues.

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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